Seven years of peeves.
It was April, 1995, when the first peeves appeared. The column was called Pet Peeves From Left Field. In June, 1998, I changed the column's name to Leave It To Peever, in honor of Beaver Cleaver, and to disguise my liberalism. Mary Lowman was gracious enough to provide me with a caricature of myself, and the rest, as they say, is history. I can say without any regrets that I have peeved off about everyone in Galesburg and Knox County, not to mention most of Illinois. And I can unequivocally say it's been with a great deal of pleasure.
Probably the biggest response I've ever had is the ribbing I give to Rush Limbaugh. For some reason, young guys, most of them high school dropouts, listen to this guy and seem to take what he says as the gospel truth. I, of course, don't elevate his nonsensical mumbo-jumbo to quite those heights. One of my columns devoted exclusively to Rush ended up on the Rush Limbaugh Network, which resulted in a lot of e-mail, none of which rose above a chimpanzee's level of intelligence. (Sorry, chimpanzees). This was clearly my best peeving effort.
People never quite know what to say to me concerning some of the peeves. They may agree, but they really don't want to make their agreement public. They're afraid they'll peeve someone. Most people have never gotten over this fear, called peevaphobia: the fear of peeving. I obviously am not afflicted with this horrible disease, although I am a little afraid of snakes.
Carl Sandburg College once wanted me to retract one of the Peeves. As I recall, I had said they illegally raised their tax rate, when what I meant to say was they stupidly and without adequate justification raised their tax rate. I never did retract the statement. Maybe the lawsuit is still pending. Just in case: I'm sorry, I didn't mean any of it. I was having a bad day.
Usually my talk about the city council doesn't raise much of a stink. I think maybe everyone is used to the smell. Cutting down perfectly good trees to make room for a perfectly useless downtown renovation project is only more of the same. As Yogi would say, ''This is deja vu all over again.'' I suppose one of the upsides is the crows will have fewer places to hold their group-poops. I don't think the council has any idea whether they're going or coming. I hope they're going.
Everyone seems particularly tuned into all the sexual innuendos I mistakenly make. Its gone as far as some women suggesting that I hate women. This is not true. I love women. I hate men. I am a follower of Freud. Freud believes that the world spun around a central axis, which he believed was sex. Some people foolishly believe the center is God, but I've always had the notion sex easily out-ranks God, although I've never had God tell me She has a headache.
I spend a lot of time peeving the government. There certainly is not a more deserving bunch of nitwits. Particularly the current administration. We got a guy who can hardly string together five sentences in a row leading us. He gets all his information from his fellow right-winged Christian Crusaders, which reads like a list of Who's Who in Hitler's SS Boy Scout Troop. Ashcroft believes he can do whatever with the law; Cheney has oil seeping out of his ears; Rumsfeld would nuke a minority jay-walker; Norton, the environmental bozoette, would poison the world for a buck; the Supreme Court is dumb enough to make Bush President to begin with; and Colin Powell is under the mistaken belief that all these right-winged white crusaders are going to let him play in the same ballpark with them. You stir all this up and you get the makings for a good, dictatorial, fascist stew.
The Peeves are coming together to form a book called The Peever.Com. I'm expecting to get a Pulitzer Prize for nonsense. Short of the Pulitzer, I'm hoping to sell at least one copy, which will probably be to my mother. I'm headed for Peever, South Dakota, this summer to do some publicity photos, and I may throw in a few publicity stunts. I'm thinking of kissing the mayor's ass, which with my luck will probably be some gorilla sized cowboy who dislikes liberals. Anyway, I've always said it is far better to peeve you off than to give you a line of bull about how smart you are. Remember, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words, oh how they'll peeve you.